Friday, February 18, 2011

Other Jesuses

This past week I had another visit from a member of the Watchtower organisation, otherwise known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm also reasing April DeConick's book on the Gospel of Judas. So my mind is moving on things unorthodox and Christological. Then I saw a comment by a Mormon that "Mormons do not believe in another Jesus."

Another than what? I thought. The answer is, another than Christians have historically believed in, another than that taught in the Nicene Creed. Let me give an illustration from American politics. Initial source here.

Ssaome conspiracy theorists say that Barack Hussein Obama, current President of the United States of America, is in fact a Kenyan-born man called Barry Soetero, who is a devout Muslim. On the other hand, his supporters say he was born in Hawaii, his name is Barak Hussein Obama, and he is a liberal Christian. Now, take a person who holds one of these views, and a person whom holds the other. Do they hold to the same Obama? No, Barry Soetero and Barack Obama are two different people, with different histories. One is eligible to be the president of the US, the other is not. It doesn't matter that both men are thinking of the same human being - they think such different things about him that they cannot both be true.

Just so with Jesus. Look at the Jesus of the Watchtower, or the Jesus of Mormonism, and compare them with the Jesus of the Nicene Churches. They are quite different. Fundamental to the Nicene faith is that Jesus is eternal, "of one substance with the Father", and that there is only one, eternal, God. The Mormon, on the other hand, believes that God became God, and was a man who lived on another planet, and that Jesus was born in the pre-existence to one of his father's spirit-wives. To the Mormon, not only was there a time when Jesus was not, but there was a time when the Father was not!

Or take the Watchtower. They say that Jesus is a created being, not co-equal with the Father, who is alone. And we could go on. The fact is that they do believe in a different Jesus. And ony one can be right!

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